44 Photo Tips From The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue (Part 1 of 5)


As you probably already know, the 2012 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue recently hit the shelves.

And I have a confession to make: I don’t get the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

I understand it. I just don’t get it.

I don’t get it’s continued popularity. I don’t get the anticipation that builds around it each year. I don’t get how it’s manages to sustain it’s position as a cultural phenomenon in today’s society.

There was a time, not that long ago, when I did get it. I could easily understand all the hoopla that surrounded the issue (did I really just use the word “hoopla”?).

In the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, if someone wanted to see pictures of nude (or nearly nude) women, they bought a magazine like Playboy. But even Playboy, which was (and still is) relatively tame had a negative stigma attached to it. In other words, it wasn’t “coffee table safe”.

During those years, it’s not hard to understand the fascination with the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

After all, it featured models in bikinis frolicking on exotic beaches – and even more importantly – it was delivered under the guise of a sports magazine.

It was a marketing effort from Sports Illustrated that bordered on genius.

Not only did the issue feature beautiful models wearing very skimpy (for the time) swimsuits, it also arrived in the dead of winter during an annual lull in the world of sports that continues to this day: The Super Bowl is over, the NBA is in the midst of a relatively uneventful regular season, and pro baseball and The Masters are still months away.

Thus, the SI Swimsuit Issue was the perfect antidote to the sport’s world blahs.

But that was then.

I got it then.

I don’t get it now.

Because these days, seeing nude or nearly nude models is as simple as turning on your computer (or your TV).

Even a simple trip to your grocery store’s magazine section will reveal women’s fitness magazines featuring covers (and content) that makes the images within the SI Swimsuit Issue seem modest by comparison.

In spite of all this, the issue continues to thrive.

Have I mentioned that I just don’t get it?

Fortunately, for the purposes of the remainder of this series of posts, it doesn’t matter whether I get it or not.

The important thing is the issue continues to feature excellent images shot by great photographers featuring beautiful models and beautiful locations.

The issue is a virtual cornucopia of valuable photography techniques that will benefit photographers of all levels. 

This post is merely Part 1 of a 5 part series of posts dedicated to this year’s issue. In Parts 2 through 5 (coming soon), we’ll take a look at a wide variety of images from the issue and specifically study the techniques and ideas that were used to create them.

If you desire is to improve your glamour, swimsuit, nude, or erotic photography abilities, there’s a lot to be learned within the pages of this issue.

And in my following four posts, I guarantee you’ll learn a lot.

So if you don’t yet have a copy of the 2012 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, be sure to get one before Part 2.

Yes, get your hands on the the actual, old-fashioned, paper-and-staples issue.

This way, you’ll be able to view the pictures we’re discussing clearly and at actual size.

Trust me, it won’t be difficult to find a copy. Just look for the huge displays devoted entirely to the issue in every grocery store and 7-11 from here to Funkytown.

All photos courtesy of Sports Illustrated


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  1. Larry Cohen says:

    Great points … can’t believe people still buy this SI issue when there are so many better choices out there!

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